The start of the 2019 Indiana football season is now less than 100 days away, and with that, preseason college football coverage is here.
Athlon Sports has named its top players in the Big Ten for the 2019 season with a release of first, second, third and fourth all-conference teams.
Five Hoosiers received recognition by the publication, including three offensive players, one defender, and one special teams member. It’s an early look at who are thought to be some of the most critical pieces and leaders of the 2019 IU team.
Just four other Big Ten programs had five or fewer players named on the teams – Wisconsin, Rutgers, Maryland and Illinois — so of course if this season is going to be anything special, there is room for plenty of new names to emerge.
Let’s take a look at who received the early recognition by Athlon.
COY CRONK – OFFENSIVE LINE – SECOND TEAM
The Hoosier offensive line both lost and will return a lot of key pieces. It may be the difference between success or failure on that side of the ball in 2019.
With Wes Martin off to the NFL, the unquestioned leader up front will be senior Coy Cronk.
The Lafayette native has started all 36 games in which he has appeared at left tackle since his arrival at Indiana.
As a junior, Cronk started all 11 games that he was available. He was a key reason why Indiana ranked second in the Big Ten and shared 24th nationally in first downs per game. This year’s offensive line will be surrounded by talent at the skill positions with an opportunity to have a big season under first year coordinator Kalen DeBoer.
LOGAN JUSTUS – KICKER – SECOND TEAM
There was a very close competition at kicker going into the 2018 season. Not only did Logan Justus emerge — he thrived.
After making 15 of 18 field goals and 32 of 33 extra points, Justus finished second team All-Big Ten as voted on by the coaches and third team All-Big Ten by the media.
The McCordsville, Ind. native was a Lou Groza Award semifinalist and was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week after booting a game winning field goal against Maryland.
Justus was voted as IU’s Most Outstanding Specialist of the Year.
STEVIE SCOTT – RUNNING BACK – THIRD TEAM
After his out-of-nowhere freshman season in Bloomington, third team might not hold Stevie Scott.
All he did was set Indiana true freshman records with 1,137 yards, 228 attempts, 10 touchdowns and six 100-yard games. The rushing yardage total was the 14th best in IU history, and was fifth best in the Big Ten in 2018. The true freshman averaged 94.8 yards per game and 5.0 yards per carry.
Scott also added added 16 receptions for 86 yards with one touchdown on the season.
For his efforts Scott earned honorable mention All-Big Ten. He was IU’s Offensive Newcomer of the Year and a two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week (Virginia, Ball State).
NICK WESTBROOK – WIDE RECEIVER – FOURTH TEAM
Indiana will also have its leading receiver back in 2019. Nick Westbrook was tops on the team with 590 receiving yards on his way to becoming the 19th Hoosier to reach 100 catches (102) and 1,500 yards (1,654) in a career.
The Florida native had 42 receptions and four touchdowns in 2018, both good for second on the team.
Westbrook was on the Biletnikoff Award Watch List and earned an Academic All-Big Ten selection.
MARCELINO BALL – DEFENSIVE BACK – FOURTH TEAM
If it seems like Marcelino Ball has been with IU for a while, there is a good reason for that. Playing since day one he’s been highly productive since he was a freshman. But now in what will be his fourth season in the program, Ball is still a redshirt junior, and he is still just 20 years old.
After earning 2018 honorable mention All-Big Ten (coaches, media), the best is yet to come for the Hoosier husky.
Ball will look to build on a strong 2018 where he posted 59 tackles (3rd on the team), including 40 solo stops (2nd).
The Georgia native led the team with 7.5 tackles for loss, was third with 2.5 sacks, and added three pass breakups, one interception, one forced fumble, and one quarterback hurry in 2018.
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